Chapter 14 - Of Chants - part e
"Karrelyos - Lamac lamec Bachalyas," he chanted his voice rising and falling rhythmically. "Cahagy sabalyos, Baryolas, Lagoz atha Cabyolas..."
The author Michael Harrison attempted to equate this chant to the Basque language in his The Roots of Witchcraft in 1973, giving a possible translation for this chant which results in a rather entertaining English rendition. His translation of the whole chant, rather than the initial part quoted above which is used more widely, goes something like:
“Kill (for the Feast) in November, kill! I shall transport thee there myself, and without the aid of a sieve, to scour the plates and dishes with sand: work (which must be done) with those plates and dishes. (We shall meet our friends) ready for the drinking-cup if they shall go (to the Feast), their bellies full with quaffing from the drinking-cup. O Sons (of the Master) with your Families, (shout His praises with the cry:) ‘HURRAHYA’!”
If this indeed is a correct translation, it would make it a rather ridiculous and bizarre chant to be using in the context of raising power in a Wiccan ceremony, yet when used the Bagabi does definitely seem to have an inherent power of its own. One can also easily see why it is appealing to try and link the Bagabi to the Basque region of Spain, considering the history of witchcraft persecutions this area suffered.
No linguistic equivalent in any language, or barbarous version in grimoires or old magickal papyri seems to exist for this particular chant. However, considering the villain in the original tale of Theophilus is a Jewish magician, it is possible that the Bagabi is in fact a corrupted Hebrew chant. Alternatively, we suggest it could equally likely just have been made up in an attempt to appear mystical, and decided for the purposes of this volume to demonstrate how easily this can be done and how easily it can be given meaning.
For the purposes of this exercise, completely in the name of curiosity and fun, we decided to analyse “Eko, eko, azerak, eko eko, zamilak” as this is significantly more important in Wicca today, forming part of the popular Witches Rune chant as well as being used in some instances with the Bagabi in the Books of Shadows of some traditions. We decided to apply the logic which might have been used to create such a chant during the first part of the twentieth century, around the first time this particular part of the chant appears to surface. This is what we came up with:
If you reverse “eko” you get “oke” which is an old spelling for “oak”. Of course the Oak tree has much symbolism in British and European Magick.
If you reverse this word you get “kareza” a tantric technique for sustained sex without orgasm.
This sounds like “semiiak”, an Ancient Greek word of power associated with the Sun. Again the Sun is a powerful symbol in magick and associated with the God in Wicca.
This would then give “Eko, eko, azerak, eko eko, zamilak “a meaning of “oak, oak, sex, oak, oak, Sun”, which though we are not claiming it as the real meaning, is as valid an argument as any other! Another plausible explanation for the use of eko in this chant is that it might originate with the word eke, as in eke-name, the old version of ‘nick-name’.
The barbarous phrase “Eko, eko, azerak, eko eko, zamilak” can be traced back to 1921 when it was published by J.F.C. Fuller, one of Crowley’s disciples who went on to become a top general and the inventor of blitzkrieg, in the magazine Form, and was subsequently reproduced in the Occult Review in 1923. Form magazine was edited by a magician who claimed a connection to traditional witchcraft, the artist Austin Osman Spare, who would later meet Gardner as already mentioned. The chant as written by Fuller goes:
“Eko! Eko! Azarak! Eko! Eko! Zomelak!
Zod-ru-kod e Zod-ru-koo
Zon-ru-koz e Goo-ru-mu!
Eo! Eo! Oo...Oo...Oo!”
Interestingly, in a footnote in Eight Sabbats for Witches the Farrars quote Doreen Valiente as saying that she believed that the eko eko was part of an old chant. She then went on to say that they (presumably a reference to her work with Gardner) used it as part of the Bagabi but that she believed it to be “part of another chant” which she then went on to quote, as being, apart from a few phonetics, exactly the same as the one given by Fuller! Doreen also suggested that the words Zomelak and Azerak are the names of Gods, an idea we shall return to very shortly. Whilst Doreen’s account on this is interesting, it is clear that she was either given access to the version published by Fuller, through Gardner or someone else, or that she as a well read lady may have been familiar with the article written by Fuller herself.
Where Fuller got the chant from, or whether he made it up, is the next question when considering this significant short phrase. Considering the words we came up with the following possibilities. The word eko, if taken as a written form of how a word sounds, would equate to the Italian ecco, meaning ‘here’. So this would then equate to “here, here,” which would fit with a calling to the gods. A word which could be a prototype for azerak appeared in the fourth century CE Gnostic Baptism of Fire. This word is azarakaza, which is one of the imperishable names of God. We were unable to find any word which is close to Zomelak, the nearest being the aforementioned Semiiak. So, hypothetically, “eko, eko, azerak” might be “here, here, imperishable god.” It is tempting to imagine this is the case as Valiente suggested, and that zomelak is an as yet undiscovered goddess name.
Words have power through repetition and use – thus chants, songs and prayers which have been used for a long period of time by many people for the same purpose will have a power inherent in them. This point is well made in the Chaldean Oracles:
“Never change barbarous Names;
For there are Names in every Nation given from God,
Which have an unspeakable power in Rites.”
As can be seen a long history for the use of such words of power exists. Examples can be found back throughout history and in nearly every culture and magickal tradition, in different guises, but always with the belief that such words have their own special power. In many instances certain words of power are only shared amongst initiates of a particular tradition.
The words of power in Wicca will continue to gain more power from use. Both the English and barbarous words are effective as part of the process of raising energy for magickal results, and clearly continue an ancient tradition of vox magicae.
Extract from: Wicca: Magical Beginnings written by d’Este & Rankine, 2008 (Avalonia.) PB / Kindle @ https://amzn.to/3Ay4HJr. Shared here with the intention to inspire and inform the now and future generations interested in Wicca and other Pagan traditions inspired by it.